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Celebrate freedom for the Cuban Five!

Statement by Fight Back! Editors |
December 19, 2014
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We celebrate the release of the Cuban Five - political prisoners held by the U.S. government for 16 years. Their freedom also marks a positive change in relations between the U.S. government and Cuba. Many anti-war and international solidarity activists who worked towards their release are raising their glasses to toast this victory!

The Cuban Five are heroes who came to the U.S. to stop terrorist attacks against their country. Their commitment to the Cuban people is unquestionable. Their sacrifice and that of other Cuban internationalists knows no bounds.

By secretly joining the most reactionary groups in Florida, the Cuban Five put their lives at risk in order to stop attacks on Cuba and its socialist system. They exposed CIA complicity in terrorist attacks on Cuba, while the U.S. government was claiming to fight terrorism.

Freedom for the Cuban Five and the plans to normalize relations with Cuba announced by President Obama are to be applauded. The angry response of reactionary die-hards like Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is worrisome. They seem to want another Bay of Pigs invasion, or more assassination attempts, or hotel and airplane bombings.

Anyone who has ever been to Cuba knows how much all Cubans hate the U.S. embargo and will be glad to see it go. However, President Obama can only loosen restrictions, not end the embargo. Congress needs to pass a law to do that. President Obama’s action will allow more business, loved ones remittances and travel. The large U.S. Interests Section building will become the U.S. Embassy. Cuba will no longer be on the U.S. state terrorism list. This meets many of wishes of the Cuban government and people.

The victory comes in the context of left, progressive and democratic movements growing stronger and gaining power in country after country. From Venezuela to Uruguay, Bolivia to El Salvador, most of the revolutionary movement in Latin America sees Cuba as a beacon for socialism.

The U.S. empire is losing its grip. U.S. imperialism is in decline. Meanwhile Wall Street wants to maintain its profit making, not to be further isolated. U.S. diplomats and big businesses know doors will open easier if they are positive towards Cuba.

As Colombian peace talks take place in Cuba, it is time now to deepen our solidarity. Like the Cuban Five, we hope to see Colombian revolutionary Ricardo Palmera set free from the Florence Supermax Prison in Colorado and sitting at the peace table in Cuba. For us, our task is to continue building the struggle here at home against war and oppression.

Victory for the Cuban Five! Free Ricardo Palmera!